Let’s pretend Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness isn’t just a bunch of lazy writers using the multiverse concept because they’ve run out of original villains, plots and character motivations. Let’s pretend it’s a clever, incisive metaphor for America’s turn to the dark side. C’mon, it’ll be fun!
Quick note before we begin: If you want to see just how to make the multiverse thing truly clever, original and not abused by cynical writers who’ve lost any sense of joy, go see Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Now, despite the title, Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is actually the sequel to WandaVision, that terribly clever streaming series in which our favorite witch Wanda hypnotizes an entire town because she’s sad her boyfriend died. We always wondered why the universe’s most powerful witch didn’t put her revisionist red bubble over the entire US of A instead of just Florida, I mean Westview.
Well, once she realized enough people prefer to be hypnotized, she cast off that annoying veil of reason and has embraced her inner Conservative. After going off-grid for intense bible study, she’s now convinced that she must cause the deaths of thousands of people for the sake of children who don’t exist.
With Captain America written off as a pretty-boy celeb attending pro-choice demonstrations, we have only Dr Strange to stop Wanda. So we’re doomed, because if there’s any Marvel character you could imagine as a former MD turned hapless Democratic senator from New England, it’s Dr Strange. I mean, they literally give a piece of fabric more personality than this man.
As per usual, Dr Strangle-me-please is saddled with a pesky young person, so in this on-the-nose metaphor he gets a La-teen-a named America Chavez. Can the New America help him beat back Wanda’s deadly red blasts? It doesn’t look likely, considering that all America can do is open sparkly blue portals for Strange to run away from Wanda.
This America has two moms and wears a pride pin, but Marvel makes sure these LGBTQ+ details are made insignificant enough that they’d be overlooked by censors in Saudi Arabia, whose oil Dr Strange needs to conjure his fizzy golden portals to zen retreats, because when things get rough, meditate!
How does the multiverse fit in all this? It’s just used for some ‘wacky’ distraction as Strange and America run and hide while Wanda wrecks havoc. By ‘wacky’ I mean it looks like a garbage disposal of discarded attempts at NFTs made in a beginners Photoshop class.
When Wanda forces a liberal (through a SCOTUS ruling we assume) to give up a powerful tool she needs, the lib asks why she can’t take a more reasonable approach. She could just have America portal her to some revisionist universe where made-up children are real (like Texas). Why does she insist on killing America in order to absorb all of her powers? Wanda’s reply: “In case I get sick.” (I didn’t make that up, if you were wondering just how lazy this screenwriting is.) Aha, so Wanda is afraid of brain-drain when she gets the world she is killing for. She wants access to doctors from the Johns Hopkins universe, not the University of West Virginia universe.
There is out in this multiverse an alternate Earth where they have a woman Captain America, a Black Captain Marvel, and a superhero who can kill with a whisper, not named Beto. Marvel seems to enjoy showing us this possible world for the amount of time it takes to watch a segment on Rachel Maddow, before Wanda arrives to wipe out this liberal enclave like a gerrymandered district in Houston. Lady Captain America is sliced in half by her own righteous shield, as long as we’re getting super on-the-nose about this. Which half is AOC and which is Joe Manchin, you decide.
It’s Act III now. DSITMM decides to become a zombie movie, as it was a terrible superhero movie anyway. Wanda has killed all the woke superheroes from alternate Earth and has only a twisted ankle from the effort. This allows her to stalk our America and her ineffectual intellectual protector while covered in blood and dragging her foot, looking every bit the crazed zombie she has become. How is she stopped??
Well, here, Dr Strange has to possess a decomposing corpse version of himself (zombie) to fight zombie Wanda. It’s not as fun as it sounds. To save the day, America decides to give Wanda what she wants, portaling her to the universe where her children are real. But wait, this world is inherently good, with an inherently good version of Wanda. This good version of Wanda and her children are appalled by Scarlet Vader Wanda, and shame her into wicked witch of the west-ing herself into a swirling pool of redness.
Marvel fans wonder, is this really the end of Wanda? Of course not. Just look into the beady eyes of Amy Coney Barrett and you’ll find that the reckless witch bent on a world of her own making is still very much alive.